Open House London

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Visitors to 30 St Mary Axe, widely known also as the Gherkin, one of the weekend's most popular venues.

Open House London is an event which promotes appreciation of architecture by the general public. It is a part of the organisation Open-City and is best known for its annual Open House Weekend which is a two-day event held on one weekend each September throughout London since 1992. The event forms a London version of the European Heritage Days (Journées Européennes du Patrimoine), a Europe-wide event that started as Journées Portes ouvertes des monuments historiques (Historic Monument Open Door Days) in France in 1983. During the Open House Weekend many buildings considered to be of architectural significance open their doors for free public tours. Heritage Open Days is a similar event covering the rest of England, and takes place the previous weekend to London's Open House.

The Open House event in London is usually held on the third weekend in September. The 2010 event which took place on 18 and 19 September featured over 700 buildings, neighbourhood walks, architects' talks, cycle tours, and more. Well-known buildings not usually open to the public which were open on Open House weekend in 2005, for example, included Marlborough House, Lancaster House, the Mansion House, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Horse Guards.

Open House Weekend attracts tens of thousands of people. It is often possible to turn up and go straight into some establishments, although queues are an hour or two long at the most popular buildings, while in other cases admission is by advance booking of a guided tour only.

Outside of the Open House Weekend, Open-City organises other projects including year-round tours, lectures and educational events for children. They also run Green Sky Thinking Week, a programme focused on sustainability held in April of each year.

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